Lions-Packers Preview: Detroit's Moment Years in the Making

Who would have thought either of these teams would be here?

The Green Bay Packers sat at 4-8 a month ago. They looked directionless and lifeless as Aaron Rodgers’s Green Bay tenure appeared to be reaching an end. They’ve won four straight since and are positioned to earn the NFC’s final Wild Card spot with a win. Coming off a 24-point dismantling of Minnesota, the Pack looks to be that team no one wants to face.

Sunday doesn’t come as easy for Detroit. Due to tiebreakers, they need the Seattle Seahawks to lose to the Los Angles Rams in order to have a win-and-get-in scenario on Sunday Night Football. We’re hoping for viewing sakes, Seattle falls, so we’ll get one heck of a matchup between divisional rivals with a playoff berth on the line. 

Lions @ Packers Game Information

  • Location: Lambeau Field | Green Bay, WI
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: NBC

Both teams are slated to come into Sunday night relatively healthy. The only two key players to not practice were Aaron Rodgers and Frank Ragnow. Each appears more to be injury management, especially in Rodgers’s case, so we don’t have any concerns about their availability for SNF. 

One player I think can be an absolute game-changer on Sunday who continues to fly under the radar is D’Andre Swift. It’s partially due to lingering injuries slowing him down all season, with coaches simply not getting him the ball enough. Good things happen when the ball is in his hands.

Swift is a sensational talent whose health has turned a corner and is coming off of a two-touchdown game last week. Jamaal Williams will be the top runner, but Swift has averaged six targets per game over the last six weeks, offering a dynamic element to a dominant backfield. 

Lions @ Packers Game Odds on FanDuel

  • Spread: Lions +4.5 (-105) | Packers -4.5 (-115)
  • Moneyline: Lions (+198) | Packers (-240)
  • Total: Over 49.5 (-105) | Under (-115)

I’m getting a feeling that people are already etching the Packers’ berth in stone and completely ruling out the Lions on Sunday. Yes, they obviously need help, but regardless if they’re eliminated by Seattle prior to kickoff, I can see Dan Campbell’s club embodying the spoiler mantra against a rival.

Jared Goff is playing strong, their skill positions are peaking and healthy. The defense has turned a corner, as they’ve allowed 17.4 PPG over their last five. The public is going to be all over Green Bay, especially with the recency bias of how good they looked against Minnesota. I’m not ready to write off a club that’s rallied from a 1-6 record to be in this spot. I’ll take the points. 

Lions @ Packers Player Props to Watch 

  • D’Andre Swift ATDS +190 | Jameson Williams ATDS +1100
  • Robert Tonyan ATDS +230
  • Aaron Jones UNDER 58.5 Rushing Yards (-114)

First, we’ll go back to Swift, as he might be the most dynamic player in this offense whose role is rising. He’s coming off a two-touchdown game last week and is increasingly getting the ball in his hands. We see value here.

Rookie Jameson Williams has a single reception, and it went for a 41-yard touchdown. He has game-breaking speed and a few games to get acclimated off of an ACL injury. In a potential win-or-go-home matchup, the Lions must use all the weapons in their arsenal. Immense upside at 11:1.

For the Packers, Robert Tonyan is in for a strong matchup, as Detroit’s defense has allowed the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season (11). He found the endzone last week, so at north of 2-1 odds, we’ll roll the dice with the Green Bay tight end.

Aaron Jones has rushed for less than 45 yards in seven of his last eleven games. The improving Detroit run defense is better than advertised, and AJ Dillon has emerged as more of a factor these past few weeks, so we’ll look to UNDER for Jones’s rushing yards on Sunday.